Smokefree Spring campaign helps protect children in Sefton

Wednesday 8th June 2016

Smokefree Spring – a campaign that helped turn a series of family-friendly events across Sefton into smokefree zones – has been heralded as a success by both the public and local health professionals.

  • Smokefree events welcomed to protect children and families
  • Estimated 4,500 people benefited from at least 8 local Smokefree Spring events
  • 93% of people surveyed in Sefton support smokefree family-friendly events

Smokefree Spring – a campaign that helped turn a series of family-friendly events across Sefton into smokefree zones – has been heralded as a success by both the public and local health professionals.

Events that became smokefree included Sefton Community Markets, Litherland Park Community Gala Day, Seaforth Children’s centre Children’s fun day, Santa’s Easter Egg Hunt and Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life in Southport.

In total at least 4,500 people – many children – benefited from smokefree zones during the programme of events.

Smokefree Spring has been co-ordinated by Sefton council and local social enterprise Healthier Futures, formerly Tobacco Free Futures.

As well as promoting healthy behaviours to children, the smokefree events will also help to reduce litter and reduce the chances of young children picking up and potentially eating cigarette butts that are toxic. Less places for adults to smoke also encourages smokers to quit and makes it easier for ex-smokers to not be tempted.

Gemma Farrell and Naomi Ullman, both 31 and from Ainsdale, Southport, who were running at Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life at the weekend, support the campaign:

Naomi said: “I used to smoke but gave up a few months ago. The benefits have been great and it has really helped with my running. I think smokefree events for families and children are a great idea. I have two kids, and it’s great to promote healthy behaviour to them. I would like to see more.”

Gemma said: “Most of my family smoke, and my mum has smoked since she was about 14. I grew up around it, and it has put me off ever starting to be honest. I don’t want my kids to start smoking either; so healthy smokefree events like this are great. I’d like to see more across Sefton.”

Demand for smokefree events and spaces with children present is high in Sefton, according to a recent survey 93% of people in Sefton questioned were supportive of smokefree outdoor events for children and families, with only 5% of people unsupportive.

Matthew Ashton, Sefton Council’s shared Director of Public Health said: “It’s great to see that these smokefree events have been welcomed not only in the pre-campaign research, but by families actually attending the events.

“Smoking has a devastating effect on our communities and families, with one in two longterm smokers dying prematurely from their addiction. At Sefton Council, we are committed to tackling the harms caused by tobacco in our communities, especially to children, and want to see more healthy, smokefree family-friendly events in our area that everyone can enjoy.”

Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Healthier Futures (formerly named Tobacco Free Futures) added:

“Young people consistently overestimate the prevalence of smoking, with 60% thinking it’s the ‘norm’, when in reality four out of five people don’t smoke in Sefton.

“Smokefree Spring has been created to increase the amount of clean and healthy environments that children and families play in. This campaign is about promoting great, healthy positive spaces to children and families. The more events that become smokefree, the less likely children are to take up smoking – preventing them from entering into a deadly addiction that kills one in two long-term smokers.”

If you are thinking about quitting smoking you can contact your local stop smoking service for free help and support by calling Sefton Support on 0300 100 1000.

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About Healthier Futures

Healthier Futures CIC is a social enterprise and our mission is to help people live longer, healthier, happier lives. We do this by; making smoking history for children; creating communities free from alcohol harm and empowering communities to live longer, healthier, happier lives.

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